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Good News We've won more work Bad News 265 of you are laid off.

Byline: MAGNUS GARDHAM

SHIPBUILDING bosses yesterday promised a bright future for the Clyde - while axing 265 jobs.

Workers in Glasgow's Govan and Scotstoun yards who won a reprieve from the dole in the summer are finally to be laid off because of a short- term lack of orders.

They are among 1000 throughout the UK to be axed by defence giant BAE Systems.

Yesterday, BAE announced they will switch most of the work on the Navy's new generation of destroyers, the Type 45, to Govan and Scotstoun.

But the programme will not kick in fully for two years, and bosses say there is not enough work to keep the 265 workers on until then.

Under original plans, much of the work on the six vessels, including final assembly, was to have been carried out at BAE's| Barrow yard in Cumbria.

Now, they will be assembled and fitted out on the Clyde, though sections will be built in Southampton.

The shake-up will allow the Barrow yard to concentrate on its contract for the Navy's new Astute class submarines, which is behind schedule and over budget.

But the Cumbria yard will also bear the brunt of the redundancies, losing 700 jobs. A further 80 jobs are to go at offices in Hampshire.

The shake-up is still subject to MoD approval but if it gets the go-ahead, Govan and Scotstoun will be working flat- out on the Type 45 for six to seven years, starting with steel-cutting in April.

Brian Phillipson, group managing director of BAE Systems Sea Systems, said: "I am deeply saddened by the announcements we are having to make today.

"We have worked very hard to find appropriate additional work and it is with deep regret we are having to take these actions."

The company said workers and unions would be consulted and volunteers sought for redundancy.

Union leaders expressed anger at the job cuts, but welcomed the news of extra work in future.

Jim Moohan, chairman of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions, said: "We are aware that the company has been facing short- term gaps until new work comes on stream.

"But this is a knee-jerk reaction that does not address the long-term future of the yards."

Its Scottish secretary Bernie Hamilton said: "The announcement that the Type 45 destroyers will be Clyde- built is welcome news and that's why it's essential these workers be retained."

GMB Govan convener Jamie Webster said: "These job cuts are a disappointment but not a surprise.

"I believe in the long term we'll recover these jobs and more. There will be mega work on the Clyde."

A Scottish Executive spokesman expressed "disappointment" and said a jobs taskforce would be sent in.

BP announced a pounds 26million investment in their Grangemouth oil refinery yesterday.

They will replace a "cat cracker" unit - which converts crude oil waste to valuable fuel - which was destroyed by fire three years ago.

The new unit will create 200 temporary jobs and should be up and running next year.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 22, 2003
Words:501
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